Karas Kustoms has been innovative in new pen designs, materials, and colors. At the end of 2017, they analyzed their entire product line to find any gaps they needed to fill and found they did not have any products in the “Pocket Pen” market. Taking inspiration from the Space Race as well as mid-century Americana, which has always played a big role in Karas Kustoms, they developed the new Reaktor series. This new affordable product series consists of two lines – the Galaxie and the Starliner. The Galaxie line includes a clipless, smaller ballpoint pen and an XL rollerball pen with a clip. The Starliner line includes a clipless, smaller fountain pen and a XL fountain pen with a clip. This review will be of the Starliner line. Paul from Karas Kustom graciously sent me several of the new pens to review, and I will be running two giveaways – one here and one on my blog, pengeek13.wordpress.com. This giveaway is for a Starliner XL with a blue grip section and medium nib as well as a Galaxie XL rollerball with a blue grip section, both in the silver anodized aluminum finish. The giveaway will run from August 14, 2018 until 11:59pm EST on August 31, 2018 and a winner will be announced on September 1. It will include free shipping within the U.S.; if outside the U.S., I will cover the first $8 in shipping. To enter, just leave a comment with what your favorite pocket pen is. Be sure to subscribe for follow-up emails in case you are chosen as the winner.
Packaging: The packaging for these samples is not the final version, so I did not include a review of the packing.
First Thoughts: The new line really captures the spirit of the Space Race. The pens look like something NASA could have given to their astronauts going on missions.
Design: The Starliner and Starliner XL are offered in the same colors and finishes as the Galaxie line, which are tumbled aluminum, silver anodized aluminum, and black anodized aluminum. The grip sections are the same, as well, offered in either black, blue, red, or tumbled aluminum. The pens come with #5 Bock nibs in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad. The cap is cylindrical with a slightly pointed finial. There are three rings engraved at the top of the cap, and two rings engraved where a cap band would normally be. The XL line has a clip which is held in place via two screws. The clip is very tight, but holds the pens securely wherever it is clipped. Both the Starliner models have the new snap-caps, which hold the cap on well and can easily be removed one handed. The body has a gradual taper to the bottom finial, which has a slight point similar to the cap finial. There is a single engraved ring near the bottom, which helps the cap post. The engraved rings represent the 3,2,1 countdown of a spaceship lifting off. There is no step down from the body to the grip section due to the pen having a snap-cap. There is a flare out at the end of the grip that acts as a finger stop as well.
Nib Performance: The nibs are made by Bock and all eight nibs wrote beautifully out of the box. They wrote slightly dry with Pilot Blue/Black on regular notebook paper. They are #5 nibs, but the broad nib seems slightly smaller than the other nibs. The nibs have the original Bock branding and logo with no size markings and due to this, Karas marks the nib units in different colors to identify the nib size.
Filling System: The Starliners all use standard international cartridges. The XL can also use a converter, but due to its size the standard Starliner can only use cartridges.
Value: The smaller Starliner will retail for $50 USD and the Starliner XL will retail for $55 USD.
Overall: I think that Karas really nailed it with this new line. The size of the pens makes them perfect to throw in your pocket and the material allows it to stand up to anything you throw at it. There was a lot of thought put into this new product line and it really shows. I think these are a great addition and give a wonderful new option to the “Pocket Pen” and fountain pen markets.
Name: Starliner / Starliner XL
Design: 6061 Aluminum Snap-cap fountain pen
Length: 114.3mm (4.25 in) / 127mm (5in)
Posted: 120.65mm (4.75in) / 133.35mm (5.25in)
Diameter: 9mm at the grip (.35in)
Weight: 21 g (.74oz) / 26g (.91oz)
Nib: Stainless Steel Bock
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge / Converter
Pros: Secure snap-cap, great size, nibs perform well
Cons: Tight clip, Starliner can only use cartridges
In the same price range:
Hi I am Eric. I am 31 years old living near Baltimore. I became interested in typewriters and pens in high school and fell down the fountain pen rabbit hole in 2011. My knowledge and taste in pens, ink, and paper has grown and changed extensively over that time. I love to travel, read, write, collect things, and above all else…. learn. Even if it is something I have seen or read a hundred times, there is always something new to learn.